Alley vs. Valley vs. Beach
It’s that time again: CB Insights has released its quarterly VC report. The money’s still big, though with a focus on seed deals. Quarter three closed with 835 deals totaling $7.5 billion invested. But CB Insights is quick to dispel any bubble talk, pointing out that unless Q4 brings $9.2 billion in funding, 2012 will show an overall drop in VC investments.
As residents of Silicon Alley (a clever knockoff of California’s original Silicon Valley), we don’t have much room to mock other cities around the country for attempting to claim a piece of the tech pie all for themselves. But we couldn’t help but notice in a Wall Street Journal real estate feature that Los Angeles–despite the fact that it’s already well-known for being the entertainment capital of the world–is still trying to make “Silicon Beach” a thing. SMH.
Say it ain’t so! It appears that New York will be losing one of its two Winklevii. TMZ reports (via TechCrunch) that Tyler Winklevoss will be picking up stakes for Silicon Beach, to launch the West Coast outpost of the twins’ aptly named VC firm, Winklevoss Capital. (Cameron will be holding down the fort here in Manhattan.)
And since he can’t live in some hovel, the twins have purchased an ultra-modern home high in the Hollywood Hills, for a mere $18 million. Careful, gentlemen–that $65 million settlement won’t last forever, especially since part of it was paid in Facebook stock.
At an industry breakfast yesterday, the commercial real estate brokers at Cushman & Wakefield announced that New York City has reached a tipping point: For the first time since 1999, the information and media sector (including technology) beat out financial services terms of office leasing.
In the first quarter of 2012, information and media accounted for 27.8 percent of office leasing by square footage, compared to the financial sector’s 26.3 percent. “New York is not just a financial town anymore,” Cushman’s managing director Ken McCarthy told the Real Deal.
You don’t have to tell Dumbo. Yesterday, the Brooklyn Paper reported that commercial vacancy rates in the neighborhood are down to 2 percent, prompting city planners to try to make Downtown more appealing to Brooklyn’s creative class. “Everyone in the tech industry wants to be in DUMBO,” said the paper. And here we thought the ideal spot was spitting distance from Union Square Ventures.
“We couldn’t be any more technologically obsolete and incompetant, but we’re glad there are lots of people out there that are not that way,” real estate developer Jed Walentas told Betabeat this morning by phone. He and his father, who own 13 buildings in the neighborhood under Two Trees Management, are widely credited for the waterfront neighborhood’s transition to a younger but slightly upscale mixed-use community by encouraging small, fast-growing companies to move in and providing funding for the arts and now tech communities.
Dumbo, the quiet neighborhood rather painfully nicknamed “Silicon Beach” that reminds some techies of San Francisco, is getting an incubator/co-working space in the vein of the NYU-Poly incubator on Varick St. in Soho. The city is investing $250,000 into a space for 30 desks for tech companies and freelancers, provided at subsidy by neighborhood developer Two Trees–who also sponsored that free wifi that you now see popping up on the Manhattan Bridge. NYU-Poly will manage the space, selecting tenants and lining up workshops, speakers, and networking sessions.